Which Countries Are Next For Medical Marijuana Legalization In 2021?

Which countries have been taking steps towards medical marijuana (MMJ) legalization that could potentially be finalized in 2021 or shortly after? This question is being asked by patients all over the world who would see a massive benefit in their quality of life if they could avail of medical marijuana treatment.

Medical marijuana is now proven beyond doubt to be a very effective treatment for a whole host of painful and debilitating conditions. Patients are getting a whole new lease on life thanks to MMJ treatment, which is extremely effective in pain management and symptom reduction.

MMJ can improve the symptoms of a large number of health conditions, such as epilepsy, headache, chronic pain, insomnia, glaucoma, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, seizures, nausea, and multiple sclerosis.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana plant
Image by RexMedlen on Pixabay: Medical marijuana laws in 2021 will differ considerably around the world.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Around The World

Medical marijuana has been legalized in most US states. The minority of states in which MMJ is still illegal seem certain to follow suit over the next few years. The weight of evidence demonstrating the wide array of benefits of MMJ treatment is simply too compelling to ignore.

Plenty of other nations around the world have by now also legalized medical marijuana. Several countries have sensible, liberal MMJ programs that their citizens can avail of. But many countries have legal MMJ almost in name only, with limiting and restrictive laws that make MMJ available to only a minority of people with very specific medical conditions.

All of the countries that look like they may make more progress towards legalizing medical marijuana in 2021 fall into the category of having some amount of current MMJ legality. But that legality tends to involve such restrictive programs that almost none of their citizens qualify, and for those who do, the product range available is extremely limited.

Medical Marijuana Laws In 2021

Medical marijuana legalization is not usually a sudden, one-fell-swoop type of situation, especially when the decision is being made at a national level. Nations are large entities that contain a wide range of conflicting pressure groups within their borders.

In the US, for example, medical marijuana is still not legal at a federal level, but most US states have now legalized medical marijuana. Nations as a whole tend to move more slowly than individual states. For example, Oklahoma went from a staunchly anti-MMJ state to a very liberal legal MMJ state almost overnight, when voters approved State Question 788 in 2018.

Which Countries Will Legalize Medical Marijuana Next?

France

Sativex, which is a mouth spray containing chemical extracts from the cannabis plant, is currently available as a treatment in France. But a full medical marijuana program is yet to be legalized and implemented in the country.

Former Minister for Health Agnes Buzyn is an influential figure in French public health policy and has stated her support for an MMJ program on several occasions. Also, the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products has concluded that it would be “appropriate to authorize the use of therapeutic cannabis… in certain clinical situations.” Given these high-profile endorsements, it seems only a matter of time before France fully legalizes medical marijuana.

Ireland

The Irish Medical Cannabis Access Programme is operating on a pilot basis for the next five years. Only a medical consultant (and not a general practitioner) can prescribe a marijuana-based treatment. The only patients eligible for treatment with MMJ in Ireland are those with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy; intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy; or spasticity associated with MS who have not responded to standard treatments.

Ireland’s legal MMJ program is preliminary and very limited. However, it is a start, and seems likely to expand once the initial pilot stage is complete.

The UK

The UK technically legalized treatment with medicines derived from marijuana in 2018. But the country’s MMJ program has been derided for being MMJ-legal in name only. Only three MMJ derived medications are available to patients: Sativex (only for MS patients), Nabilone (only for treating chemotherapy side-effects), and Epidiolex (only for epilepsy patients). These medications are only prescribed if all other treatment options have failed.

Alex Fraser, patient access specialist at Grow Biotech, echoes the disillusionment felt by millions of UK citizens when he says, “We’ve seen a huge reluctance from doctors and pharmacies to risk their licenses by facilitating access. The vast majority of people (…) are still being forced to rely on the black market to source their medication.” Given the public outcry and strong demand for MMJ treatment in the UK, it is only a matter of time before the country widens and improves its MMJ laws.

MMJRecs - MMJ plant
Image by pixundfertig on Pixabay: Which countries will legalize MMJ next?

Countries Where Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

Marijuana laws are somewhat unclear and indecisive in many countries. Some countries have fully legalized recreational marijuana. However, quite a few countries do not have a specific legal marijuana law, but have made marijuana usage effectively legal, with public marijuana consumption common and never punished.

The following is a list of countries in which recreational marijuana is legal, or effectively legal:

  • Argentina: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Australia: Recreational marijuana was legalized in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital city Canberra, in 2019.
  • Belgium: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Cambodia: Technically illegal, but culturally accepted. Cambodia is full of restaurants offering “happy meals” that are infused with marijuana.
  • Canada: Fully legal recreational marijuana.
  • Colombia: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Czech Republic: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Ecuador: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Mexico: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Netherlands: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted, and products are available to buy in the country’s famous coffee shops.
  • Portugal: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Spain: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted. Spain’s famous “smoking clubs” are fully legal in Catalonia.
  • United States: Several states have fully legalized recreational marijuana.
  • Uruguay: Fully legal recreational marijuana.

Featured image by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Medical Marijuana Reform: What Does The US House Vote Postponement Mean For MMJ?

The current pandemic has caused a lot of government operations to come to a standstill. Many sectors have been hyper-focused on addressing the rising numbers of COVID-19 and efforts to slow transmission of the virus.

One such reform that has taken a back seat is medical marijuana. A planned vote that was supposed to take place in September has been postponed, and it’s possible that it won’t be back on the table until after the much-anticipated 2020 election. So, what does this mean for medical marijuana reform in the United States?

Federal legalization 2020 could have some roadblocks

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, many states had introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana that would allow for reform on the punishments received for those in possession. With the virus causing many committees to adjourn, it’s not clear when they will be available for the vote.

Medical cannabis programs had also been introduced in states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Caroline, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, but all have adjourned early, with some bills dying before they could even get off the ground.

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Image by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash: Many people are awaiting reform to have prior and pending marijuana convictions overturned. 

The MORE Act

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act was proposed in 2019 in efforts to take cannabis out of the Controlled Substances Act, thus leading to lessened criminal punishments for use and possession for both the future and for those with prior or pending convictions. It would also pave the way for funding and grant programs for small businesses in the industry.

As of writing, 33 states have opted into allowing the use of medical marijuana for a variety of conditions, but with the stall of the marijuana legalization vote, it’s not certain when the others will follow suit.   

What the new marijuana legislation will mean

For many Americans, especially people of color or those in certain disenfranchised communities, the need for legalization of marijuana is particularly important. Statistics have shown that certain communities are more susceptible to facing harsher penalties for marijuana related offences, which in turn threatens their ability to progress throughout their life. For those with drug-related offenses surrounding the use of marijuana, this could mean serving prison time. The new legislation aims to eliminate the chance of that altogether and impose fines instead.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found the delay of the vote was based on fear and that the choice to push this particular bill could be racially motivated, and that it’s possible that there are more nefarious actions at play on behalf of the Republican party.

Why is marijuana legalization important?

Studies have shown that the use of medical marijuana can be of great benefit for people suffering from certain ailments such as cancer, chronic pain, mood disorders, and digestive dysfunction. When states continue to keep cannabis on the criminalized list of substances, it’s hard for people to access something that would help them greatly in their battle to a better quality of life.

It’s also important for certain demographics to be unafraid of the use of small amounts of marijuana, because in its current state, many people are convicted of serious offences when it is not necessary. This increase in both fear and risk leads to less regulation, more opportunity for harmful chemicals to be added to marijuana, and increased danger when purchasing. Research has also found that the use of marijuana recreationally among adults was less of a risk in terms of long-term effects than the long-term recreational use of alcohol.

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Image by Justin Cron on Unsplash: The current racial divide in the United States could benefit from measures such as medical marijuana reform.

Because there is no definitive timeline for when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over, especially with cases still on the rise in many areas, it’s not likely that the bills will be introduced prior to election day. This delay in voting has also had an impact on the tension between the Republic and Democratic parties, as well the racial divide that the country currently finds itself in. Many communities who fall victim to the unfair marijuana laws are predominantly people of color, as are many people who have already been convicted for cannabis-related offences.

Medical marijuana reform is needed in all states to ensure that there is racial equality and access to proper medical care if someone so requires it, and these bills, if passed, will help bridge those gaps.

Image by Quick PS on Unsplash

Can A State Recriminalize Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana has come a long way in the United States over the past decade. A mere handful of years ago, there was nowhere in the U.S. you could purchase marijuana legally. Today, you can get medical and recreational marijuana in 11 states as well as Washington D.C. And more are sure to be on the way, with several other states putting measures to further legalize marijuana in many states. But can a state recriminalize medical marijuana?

If you’ve been wondering “Can my state make MMJ illegal again?”, here’s what you need to know about where things are likely headed regarding legal marijuana in the current climate.

A Brief History of Marijuana

Back when the United States first came into being, cannabis was widely grown for hemp. As other crops such as cotton became more popular, hemp fell out of fashion and cannabis plants were no longer encouraged to be farmed. But marijuana from the cannabis plant was increasing in popularity. In fact, by the end of the Civil War in the United States, marijuana was a popular addition to tinctures and medicines. By the 1930s, marijuana was quite popular in many communities.

So, when did it start to become criminalized? After the prohibition of alcohol had come and gone, a movement to outlaw marijuana gained traction in the 1930s. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act had been passed, essentially making marijuana illegal throughout the United States.

Since the prohibition in the 1930s, the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. More and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, while a few others have made medical marijuana legal. Several have even made marijuana legal for everyone, medical condition or not. But as far as the federal government is concerned, marijuana is still illegal. And that leads to some interesting questions about its legality overall, even if you live in a state that has totally legalized it.

 

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Image by Christina Walker on Unsplash: Many people might be wondering “Will MMJ always be legal in my state?”

Medical Marijuana vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Conflicts between the federal government and state laws may lead you to think that there’s a difference between medical marijuana and marijuana, but the truth is that they really only differ by legal definitions.

Medical marijuana is used by people with certain qualifying medical conditions and is purchased at MMJ dispensaries that are overseen by the state government. “Regular” marijuana, on the other hand, is simply marijuana for non-medical use. It’s also called “recreational marijuana” since users do not need to have proof of a medical condition to use it.

Legalization, Decriminalization, and Medical Marijuana

There’s really no set definition to any term regarding the use or legalization of marijuana in the United States. However, there’s a broad way to understand the difference between the terms:

  • Decriminalization – Many states do not allow medical or recreational marijuana, but they have decriminalized it. That means that there is generally no prison or jail time for those who possess limited quantities of marijuana. That doesn’t mean there are no legal penalties in place; it simply means you may not go to jail for having possession of marijuana.
  • Legalization – For the states that have totally legalized marijuana, there are no government-enforced penalties for possessing or using marijuana. This often includes growing it in your own home, but rules vary from state to state.
  • Medical marijuana – States that have approved marijuana for medical use allows doctors to recommend the use of marijuana to treat certain conditions, which differ from state to state.

Can MMJ Be Made Illegal Again In My State?

It’s important to understand that, as previously mentioned, the federal government still considers marijuana illegal. In fact, according to the federal government, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has, in their eyes, no medical use with an increased potential for abuse. That puts it in the same category as other drugs such as heroin, and in a more restrictive category than drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine, which are Schedule 2.

 

MMJ Recs - recreational marijuana

Image by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash: Will I always have access to MMJ in my state, you may ask? Chances are good that many states will only continue to move forward with MMJ legislation.

 

At any time, Congress could legalize marijuana, but as it stands now it’s a question answered state by state. If you live in a state with medical marijuana, legal marijuana, or even decriminalized marijuana, the laws can change at any time with a bill approved by the state’s government.

Marijuana has an interesting history. So can a state recriminalize medical marijuana? Well, while there’s always a chance of history repeating itself and local and state laws sliding backward, the current climate points toward more states getting on the legalization train.

Featured image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

Which States Have The Highest Percentage Of Medical Marijuana Users In The U.S.?

Is MMJ use common in the U.S.? The answer is an emphatic yes! Medical marijuana is bringing life-enhancing symptom relief to people who suffer from a wide variety of medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, muscle spasms, cancer symptoms, and glaucoma. The popularity of MMJ is increasing steadily, with new MMJ states coming on board regularly. So which states have the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S.?

Which states consume the most MMJ is an interesting topic, because the answers provide an interesting insight into how cultural mores and attitudes, as well as legislative and business practices, differ state by state. Finding out which state has the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S. is a valuable learning experience that can teach us a lot about life in America in 2020.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. It consists of the dried fruit, flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant. Marijuana has been taken for thousands of years for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes. The drug has mind-altering properties as well as physically relaxing and energizing properties. Many forms of marijuana are available that have different effects, generally dictated by the amounts and ratios of the most active compounds, THC and CBD, present in the strain.

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Image by StayRegular on Pixabay: MMJ use is common in the U.S.

A Brief History Of The Legal Status Of Marijuana In The U.S.

How popular is MMJ use in America? The answer to this question has varied greatly over time – mainly because legal status, and therefore availability, has changed over time.

The cannabis plant is native to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent and it has been used in and around that part of the world for at least 5,500 years. Marijuana was introduced to the western world by an Irish doctor called William Brooke O’Shaunessey, who brought it to Britain from Bengal in 1842.

Marijuana was used commonly in the United States for medicinal purposes until 1911, when states began to make it illegal. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act essentially prohibited marijuana use at the federal level. In 1973, states began to tentatively decriminalize the use of marijuana while maintaining its illegal status. After this, more and more states began to decriminalize the drug. But it wasn’t until 1996 that the first state legalized marijuana for medical use, and not until 2012 that the first state finally made marijuana fully legal for all purposes again.

Which States Legalized MMJ First?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The first state to fully legalize recreational marijuana, in 2012, was Washington State, closely followed in the same year by Colorado.

Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

As of 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized medical marijuana, and 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. In medical marijuana states, the qualifying conditions and available product ranges vary state by state. They range from the highly liberal – such as Oklahoma, which allows MMJ usage for any medical condition for which a doctor deems it beneficial – to the more restricted, such as Delaware and Alaska.

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Image by Voltamax on Pixabay: MMJ qualifying conditions vary state by state.

Which States Have The Highest Numbers Of MMJ Users?

How popular is MMJ use in America? This is a question that depends greatly on which state you are talking about. California has the highest number of medical marijuana users in the U.S. by a long way, with approximately one million users. Michigan comes in second place with over a quarter of a million users. Oklahoma, which only recently legalized MMJ, deserves an honorable mention because it has a very high per capita usage, which is growing all the time thanks to its liberal, well-implemented and competitive medical marijuana program.

Which States Will Legalize Marijuana Next?

Several states seem to be near to fully legalizing marijuana in the next few years. The most likely to fully legalize next are Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and Missouri. The states that seem most likely to legalize medical marijuana in the near future are Wyoming and Kentucky.

Is There Any Progress Towards the Legalization Of MMJ On A Federal Level?

Legalization on a federal level is a matter of when, not if. It’s not a huge political issue at the moment, and probably won’t ever be again, because states have made their own marijuana laws, and so legalization on a federal level is really not essential anymore. However, the disparity between out-of-date federal law and the reality that well over half of all states have legalized medical marijuana (and an increasing amount of states also have legal recreational marijuana) means that legalization on a federal level is certainly on the horizon.

How To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Letter

The best way to apply for a medical marijuana letter is to arrange an online consultation with an MMJ doctor in your state on MMJRecs.com.

Featured image by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Can A State Recriminalize Recreational Marijuana?

The laws surrounding both recreational and medical marijuana (MMJ) are constantly changing. Just about every major election sees alterations to which states currently allow their citizens to use marijuana recreationally and/or for medicinal purposes. Because of this perpetual flux, many people are often left wondering, “Can a state recriminalize recreational marijuana?” The answer is (potentially) yes. At this time, cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, which means there’s always the possibility that currently “legalized” states can revert to criminalizing marijuana usage. Keep reading for more information about the laws surrounding recreational marijuana.

What are the current marijuana laws?

Marijuana (or cannabis) is a mixture of dried flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant. It can create psychoactive or mind-altering effects because of a chemical called THC and can be consumed in a variety of different ways (such as cigarettes, water pipes, vaporizers, and edibles). When using marijuana products, people can experience feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

There are currently 11 states in the U.S. where recreational marijuana is legal:

  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts

Currently, most states still have certain restrictions on using and growing marijuana even though it’s legal. For example, recreational users are permitted to carry one ounce of flower or eight grams of cannabis at a time. There are still some acts that can result in criminal charges (including some selling activities or unlicensed growing operations), depending on the state. As for MMJ usage, there are 33 states that have made medical marijuana usage legal. MMJ can be used in the treatment of a large variety of conditions – everything from post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders to glaucoma and nausea.

MMJRecs - marijuana legalization

Image by Greta Scholderle Moller on Unsplash: There’s always a possibility that states could recriminalize recreational marijuana.

Can my state make recreational marijuana illegal again?

Because of the changing laws, you might be wondering if the state you live in could potentially revert to making recreational marijuana illegal again. There is always the chance that laws could be passed to make marijuana illegal if lawmakers think it’s in the public’s best interest or if voters decide to vote out these laws. In 2018, the governor of Colorado (one of the first states to make recreational cannabis legal in the US) said the state would always be open to considering reversing the law if it was deemed necessary.

So if you’re pondering, “Can recreational marijuana be made illegal again in my state?” there’s always the chance this could happen. However, because of the general public’s support of passing these laws in the first place, it would be somewhat unlikely for a state to completely reverse its policy regarding recreational marijuana use.

Should I get an MMJ card instead of using recreationally?

If you have the question “Will recreational marijuana always be legal in my state?”, it makes sense that you’re concerned you might not always have access to legal cannabis in the future. If that fear is there, you might want to consider getting an MMJ card. If you have physical or emotional symptoms that could be alleviated with the use of MMJ products, you could be eligible for an MMJ card (if it’s legal in your state).

There are lots of benefits to having an MMJ card versus just using marijuana recreationally, including:

  • The option of possessing larger amounts of product
  • Getting to skip sales tax on MMJ products in some states
  • Having fewer restrictions for growing your own MMJ

These benefits are great if you’re going to be traveling or if you can’t get to a licensed dispensary very easily. It’s also helpful if you need to try multiple strains or different forms in order to most effectively treat your medical condition. There’s also an added advantage of having more rights with an MMJ letter. If you’re always carrying your MMJ card with you when you’re in possession of MMJ products, it’s likely that you won’t face any serious issues with law enforcement, since you can show your card as proof of your rights.

MMJ Recs - weighing MMJ

Image by Add Weed on Unsplash: There are many benefits to owning an MMJ card when it comes to buying cannabis.

How do you apply for an MMJ card?

Having to constantly worry “Will I always have access to recreational marijuana in my state?” can lead to a lot of stress. To avoid any possible future changes in the law, if you’re eligible, apply for an MMJ card so that you’ll still have continuous access to marijuana products. Look for specific regulations surrounding MMJ usage in your state and then head to MMJRecs to get evaluated virtually by a medical professional. If your medical condition allows you to qualify, you can receive an official medical marijuana recommendation, ID card, and grower’s permit for one reasonable flat rate from MMJRecs. It’s unlikely that medical marijuana laws will be rolled back, so having access to these products means you’re more likely to be protected going forward.

There’s always a chance that your individual state could go back and recriminalize recreational marijuana. If this happens, don’t worry – you still have options! Consider applying for an MMJ card so you’ll continue to have access to cannabis products that can help treat a variety of physical or emotional issues. Just make sure to keep paying attention to the laws in your state so that your recreational or MMJ use will always fall within the legal realm.

Featured image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

When Will Marijuana Be Legalized In Oklahoma?

One of the most pressing debates of our time surrounds the legalization of marijuana, and while many states are making progress, some still haven’t taken the full leap. Oklahoma recently allowed for medical marijuana – but when, if ever, could we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma fully, and how would this affect MMJ?

MMJ Laws in Oklahoma

Let’s start with the basics. Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma? The answer is yes – since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in Oklahoma, so long as you have an MMJ card. However, recreational marijuana is absolutely not legal! We’re going to take a look at when complete legalization might happen, how this has impacted other states that have taken the plunge, and what it could mean for MMJ card holders.

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma last year, the reception seems to have been pretty positive, with 151,000 residents having applied for MMJ cards and more than 170 dispensaries licensed. This actually means that Oklahoma has more MMJ cards per capita than any other state.

However, despite the relatively warm reception medical marijuana has received, Oklahoma still seems pretty strongly opposed to recreational marijuana as a whole. In fact, a recent SoonerPoll survey found that 59% of Oklahoma residents would oppose expanding legalization to include recreational use. That said, there are still considerable policy changes being implemented to safeguard medical users – such as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, which means that an employer cannot deny work to, discipline, or fire an employee based on the grounds that they are a medical marijuana patient. Nor can businesses fire a patient for a positive marijuana test, unless it has safety implications (such as the operation of heavy equipment).

MMJ Recs - marijuana plant
Will we ever see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma for recreational use?

What Are The Pros/Cons Of Legal Marijuana In Oklahoma?

There is much debate over whether both medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized in each state, but looking at complete legalization, what are some of the pros and cons that Oklahoma could face?

One of the biggest arguments given for complete legalization is that it will take the marijuana trade out of the hands of criminals. This will lessen the flow of money to organized crime and hopefully reduce violence. Additionally, it means that the money that would have gone to criminals can instead be levied as a tax to help benefit the state and, of course, fund small businesses (like the 170+ dispensaries now in Oklahoma for medical marijuana). Additionally, legalization means less burden on the state, since the number of arrests and court fillings will fall, along with the associated costs. This was clearly seen in Colorado, where marijuana arrests decreased by roughly 52% between 2012 and 2017.

On the other hand, legalization could make marijuana use more prevalent and have a knock-on effect for other crimes – DUIs, for example. This was also found in Colorado, where marijuana-related DUIs jumped from 12% to 15% of all DUIs between 2014 to 2017. Additionally, while having marijuana legalized in Oklahoma would reduce the bureaucracy of unwarranted court proceedings, it would open up a whole new issue of regulation. The overall debate is undoubtably far more complex than this, but is often focused around recreational use. The use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is far more stable, but could this be changed by complete legalization? 

How Could Full Legalization Affect MMJ?

Complete legalization will of course make marijuana more ubiquitous in the state, but the real impact on MMJ card holders would be minimal. This is because the restrictions and options for card holders would probably remain the same, giving you the same benefits under complete legalization as you have now. Some of these include being able to use reputable dispensaries to acquire the best products for your condition as well as not having to pay tax on medical marijuana, which you’d likely have to do for recreational marijuana. Furthermore, the age restrictions would vary, with an MMJ card allowing anyone over to 18 access the products they need – not so likely with recreational marijuana.

How can you get an MMJ card in Oklahoma?

Whether we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma entirely or not, the best option for most people will still be an MMJ card due to savings, higher-quality products, and fewer restrictions. In Oklahoma, you’ve been able to apply for an MMJ card since August of last year, and can do so if you suffer from a qualifying condition. These include cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more, so first check whether you fit into one of these categories.

If you meet the qualifying conditions, an MMJ card can be procured from your doctor. However, many people opt to get their card online, since it allows you to complete the whole process without the hassle of travel, which can be difficult for many people seeking MMJ. Online applications also allow for instant recommendations once the evaluation is completed by qualified professionals.

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MMJ laws in Oklahoma will stand strong, no matter what happens with recreational legalization.

Overall, medically legal marijuana in Oklahoma has had a pretty positive reception, and with new legislation giving greater protections to MMJ card holders every month, it seems likely that its medical use will only become more common. That said, the state still seems adamantly against the complete legalization of marijuana. Luckily, those who need it can still access it by applying for an MMJ card and using a registered dispensary. Regardless of whether Oklahoma goes for complete legalization, this is still the best option and is unlikely to change.

What Is The Legal Status Of Medical Marijuana In Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has joined a number of states throughout the United States that have legalized medical marijuana (MMJ). Because of its legality, MMJ products have been able to help a growing number of people who can find health benefits from using marijuana. Check out the info below to help you learn all you can about Oklahoma and MMJ laws.

Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma?

Although recreational marijuana is still illegal in Oklahoma, in August 2018, the state made medical marijuana legal. Since then, there has been a surge in people applying for MMJ cards, with over 151,000 people (about 3.5% of the state’s population) signing up for MMJ licenses. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), the board that authorizes MMJ cards, has seen its offices overwhelmed with MMJ applications – sometimes receiving as many as 3,500 a week! In fact, OK MMJ laws have led to the state having more MMJ users per capita than any other state in the U.S. In general, Oklahoma residents are happy about the changes in the law. Because MMJ products can be useful for a variety of conditions (including everything from cancer and glaucoma to HIV/AIDS and Parkinson’s), many people are taking full advantage of medical marijuana being legalized to help alleviate or eradicate painful or bothersome symptoms they experience.

MMJ Recs - MMJ product
If you’ve been wondering “Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma?”, the answer is a resounding yes!

Will MMJ laws in Oklahoma change?

There have been some minor tweaks to the MMJ laws in Oklahoma in recent months. In August 2019, Oklahoma veterans with a permanent disability only have to pay $20 for their MMJ card (rather than the standard $100 fee). Additionally, law enforcement now has electronic access to the information that’s on an individual’s MMJ card (such as their picture and unique 24-digit ID number). The state will also be rolling out changes to the programs that work with laboratory testing, electronic tracking systems, and short-term licenses in order to better regulate and oversee MMJ usage. Because lawmakers are working to amend the laws rather than completely dismantle them, it seems likely that the legislation making MMJ legal is likely to stay in place. There are still basic laws about growing, cultivating, and using MMJ products, including that you are permitted to possess:

  • Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in your residence
  • Up to 3 ounces of marijuana on your person outside of the home
  • Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • Up to 72 ounces of edibles
  • Up to 6 mature plants
  • Up to 6 seedling plants

Even with a valid MMJ card, you are not legally allowed to buy MMJ any place besides a state-licensed dispensary (so purchasing from a dealer or another MMJ cardholder is prohibited!)

It’s also not very likely the state will reverse MMJ legality anytime soon because the state is seeing major growth in the number of dispensaries being opened (with around 1,500 dispensary licenses being approved since MMJ was legalized). With increased sales of MMJ products (of upwards of $23 million in sales a month), Oklahoma is also earning state and local taxes to the estimated tune of $2 million a month. More money in state coffers means they’re less likely to head down the route of making MMJ illegal again. In fact, there’s a good chance that the selling and usage of MMJ will only continue to be more accepted in the state (by both MMJ patients and lawmakers alike).

MMJ Recs - person holding marijuana
Be sure to know all you can about OK MMJ laws before you utilize medical marijuana in the state.

How do I get my OK MMJ card?

You’ll want to get your own MMJ card if you have a medical condition that qualifies you to use MMJ products. In order to apply for one, you can go to omma.ok.gov to get an application. You’ll also need a medical professional to help you complete your application; they’ll need to verify that you do have a health issue with symptoms that could be improved with the usage of MMJ. If you don’t have a medical professional to turn to, you can always use the services of MMJRecs. You’ll also need to pay the $100 application fee and provide proof of residency and proof of identification (more details can be found on the OMMA website about this).

If you’re caught by law enforcement with marijuana and you don’t have a valid MMJ card, you could face consequences of a misdemeanor charge of up to one year in prison (if you’re carrying less than 1.5 ounces of cannabis) and a fine of up to $1,000. The charges and fines are much more serious for subsequent offences or for selling marijuana. Similarly, being caught with marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or in the presence of a child under the age of 12 could mean you face double penalties. The amount of marijuana you’re carrying and the location you’re at when confronted by law enforcement could also impact your punishment. Make sure you have a legitimate MMJ card and always get it renewed every year to avoid getting caught with an invalid, expired card.

MMJ laws in Oklahoma are pretty similar to those of the other 32 states that have legalized it so far. With the growing number of people who are applying for MMJ cards, it’s likely the popularity and acceptance of medical marijuana will only just increase with time. To take advantage of the legal status of medical marijuana in Oklahoma, you can apply for your own MMJ card today.

Medical Marijuana Is Now Legal In Australia: Which Country Will Be Next To Legalize MMJ?

Early in 2017, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalize medical marijuana. Other states and territories in the country quickly followed suit. As with many countries worldwide, the discussion surrounding this important issue was long and protracted. Australia currently has to import medical cannabis from overseas, once a patient has been prescribed it by an authorized medic. The change in the law means that not only will the importation process be sped up, but also that Australia is now allowed to start growing its own medical cannabis. This means obviously that waiting time for patients prescribed with medical marijuana will be cut. Good news indeed!

Portugal was the first actual country to legalize medical marijuana, in 2001. The U.S. state of California, though, was way ahead of the game, legalizing MMJ way back in 1996. The next few countries to follow where Portugal blazed a trail were the Czech Republic, Finland, Holland, Spain, and Greece. Many more countries have since jumped on the increasingly popular bandwagon. California and a few more states – including Washington D.C. – have just recently legalized marijuana for recreational as well as medicinal use. No doubt other countries will keep a close eye on California to see how this legalization plays out and will then probably, in time, do the same. If you’re interested to know which countries currently allow marijuana for medical purposes, have a read here.

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With many children suffering from debilitating illnesses that can be treated with medical marijuana, several countries seem to be changing their attitude towards MMJ.

So which country might be the next one to legalize medical marijuana? Let’s take a look at Ireland first. This little country is taking big steps towards legalization. It’s a slow process though – any proposed bills have to pass through long and drawn out parliamentary procedures before they have a chance of becoming law. The bill for legalization did pass its second reading in Parliament at the end of 2017, though, so progress is being made. The current law states that the Minister for Health can grant a special license for the use of MMJ, if he sees fit. The first such license was awarded in 2016 to a two-year-old boy with Dravet Syndrome, which allowed the treatment that he’d started in Colorado to be continued. A more recent case in Ireland made headlines when Ava Twomey’s mother – Vera – set out on a walk from her home in Cork to Dublin (some 186 miles) in order to raise awareness of her child’s plight. Ava (7) suffers from Dravet Syndrome, too, which meant that she was having several, severely debilitating epileptic seizures a day. Shortly before Christmas 2017, Ava was granted a license for the medical cannabis she needed and so the family was able to return home to Ireland from the Netherlands, where they’d been living in order to access the cannabis oil Ava needed. Since taking the cannabis oil on a regular basis, Ava’s seizures have stopped completely. A heart-warming story indeed and one which will surely increase the chances of Ireland being one of the next countries to legalize medical marijuana.

Ireland’s geographical neighbor, the U.K., could also well be in the race for the next country to legalize MMJ.  Like Ireland, the U.K. currently has very strict rules under which CBD oil can be given to patients. Cannabidiol was recently re-classified as a medicine by the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency. An 11-year-old boy named Billy Caldwell was the first child to benefit from this change in law. Billy had been suffering from epileptic seizures every day since he was baby; sometimes as many as 100 fits in one day. He was first given cannabis oil in California (where, of course, medical marijuana had been legal for some time), which resulted in a dramatic reduction in his number of seizures and then a complete cessation of them. Back in the U.K. (Northern Ireland, actually, but it’s part of the U.K. rather than Ireland), his own GP saw the wisdom in continuing with Billy’s treatment and so prescribed him the cannabidiol. Research is currently ongoing in the form of clinical trials around a pure form of cannabis, which is specifically engineered for medicinal purposes. If these trials prove successful, the U.K. will almost certainly be well on the way to fully legalizing medical marijuana.

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Many more countries seem set to follow in the footsteps of Australia and the U.S. when it comes to legalizing MMJ.

France is often seen as a fairly laid-back, enlightened, and libertarian country in many respects, but to date it’s somewhat behind its European counterparts when it comes to marijuana. Sativex, a cannabis-based prescription mouth spray, was only approved in France in 2014; it was the sixteenth European country to legalize this particular treatment, which is mainly prescribed for MS sufferers. However, with a newly elected liberal-minded president – Emmanuel Macron – word is that France could well be one of the next countries to legalize MMJ. He has already eliminated compulsory prison sentences for petty marijuana offenses and, during his campaign to become president, Macron professed a desire to relax other French laws relating to marijuana. So this country does have a bit of way to go yet, but if the new president follows through with his promises, we could certainly see France as one of the next countries to legalize medical marijuana.

With so many countries now following the example set by the state of California, surely it’s only a question of time before most of the world accepts that MMJ is the way forward in the treatment and relief of many acute diseases.

Which State Will be the 30th to Join the MMJ Revolution?

The medical marijuana revolution has gained some serious traction in the last few years. It started with a slow trickle all the way back in 1996, but as of the end of 2017, 29 states have legalized MMJ, with the majority of those laws coming into effect within the last decade. The trend seems to be very much in favour of legalization, with recreational use also coming up fast behind. But the question many advocates across the country are asking is: who will be next in line to pass the crucial legislation?

West Virginia was the most recent place to make the leap, and was the only state to join the cause in 2017. Because each state has their own laws, and because the process of introducing medical marijuana is a hot topic in most places, with plenty of debate and strong positions on both sides, it takes a long time to see the process through to completion. Fortunately, the majority of states now have turned the tide in favour of medical marijuana, so the rest should follow sooner or later. That’s the good news.

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29 states down; 21 to go.

The bad news is that it’s taken over 20 years to get to 29 states, and among the remaining 21 are some hard-line conservative areas that are against marijuana legalization of any kind, let alone decriminalization. So while the figures and statistics might look encouraging, and 29 states in the bag is certainly an encouraging number, it should be remembered that for West Virginia’s lone passing of their MMJ bill, there were 13 states who postponed or denied the legislation in 2017. These were Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Included in that number are a few unsurprising states, who traditionally take a conservative stance against the more liberal leanings of MMJ pioneers like California and Colorado. But there were also some surprises in there; Utah, with its proximity to both the aforementioned states, is surrounded by relaxed MMJ laws, and was thought to be a frontrunner in the race for the next state to sign up. Nebraska also looked all set to be a serious competitor in that race, much to the surprise of the rest of the country, as it’s traditionally seen as a Republican stronghold. However, their bill fell through in May of this year, when it was no longer viable for the 2017 session; though it will carry over to 2018.

The good part of all this failed legislature is that people are at least talking about MMJ laws in states all across the country. These bills are up for debate, with residents and governments taking their meanings and implications seriously. Those who advocate for medical marijuana will no doubt see the legislature pushed through again, hopefully next time with a different, more positive result. But among all the stalling was one state who technically put an MMJ bill through this year, and will more than likely see some form of the medicine go statewide in 2018: Iowa.

Technically, the state passed the bill in May 2017, making medical marijuana legal in Iowa. But the MMJ laws have yet to be implemented, and the state is still trying to figure out the exact specifics of the law, such as what forms of MMJ will be allowed, and who exactly will be allowed to produce and dispense the drug. Despite this delay, plans are being implemented for widespread dispersal, with the state selecting the first official state medical marijuana manufacturer at the end of November. However, this is with a view to solely legalize the oil variant of MMJ, a form of medical marijuana that has been proven to be less effective than smoking.

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Iowa might be the next state to board the medical marijuana train.

Hot on Iowa’s heels are two other states that could potentially be the 30th state to legalise MMJ. They are Wisconsin and North Carolina. Both states have pending MMJ legislation with their governments that will carry over into 2018. Studies show that 74% of North Carolina citizens support the legalization of MMJ, a strong, significant majority that might help to convince politicians and push the bill over the edge.

So whether it’s North Carolina, Wisconsin, or Iowa, or indeed any of the other states who are close to passing an MMJ bill, it’s clear the MMJ revolution will certainly not end with only 29 states on the board. There will be a thirtieth, and a thirty-first beyond that, and so on and so forth. The real question is whether the country can unite all 50 states under the medical marijuana banner, and if that mammoth task can be managed, how liberal each legislature will be. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear the medical marijuana tide is turning and turning fast; and that can only be good news for the millions of patients across the country who can benefit from its multi-faceted properties.

What California MMJ Patients Think of New York’s New Medical Cannabis Legislation

Twenty nine states across the U.S. have now legalized medical marijuana, although the strictures of each respective legislation differ wildly. Although MMJ has been legal in at least one state in America since 1996, it still remains a contentious topic among local governments – a contention which becomes apparent with even a cursory glance at the various bills and acts which inform the legality of the medicine across the country. In fact, you don’t even have to look at all the bills; you can look at just two, a comparison which comprises the opposite coasts of the country.

California have always been way ahead of the curve when it comes to medical marijuana. They were the first state to introduce MMJ, way back in 1996, and their loose, liberal approach has informed the way many states approach the controversial subject. It took a further two years for any other state to get MMJ legislature through their respective senates.

Though it wasn’t the first state to introduce recreational marijuana (that was Colorado and Washington simultaneously in 2012), Cali has long been seen as a marijuana advocate stronghold, and followed through with their recreational legalization in November 2016, concurrent with the U.S. presidential election.

Californians Have a Leg Up When It Comes to MMJ

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One benefit Californians have over New Yorkers when it comes to medical cannabis: patients aren’t required to get a state ID card or an MMJ card.

MMJ patients in California have it pretty good. Their 1996 bill, Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, still holds up in 2017, despite some vague wording at the time of its issue. There are a whole host of qualifying conditions, not just serious ones, and the list includes the all-important qualifier ‘chronic pain’, which covers many different forms of debilitation, without needing the doctors to diagnose a specific illness before prescribing.

In fact, the law goes one step further, and qualifies any debilitating illness where the use of MMJ has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician”. This gives doctors a lot of free rein to prescribe to their patients, without worrying if their treatment plan is in danger of breaking state law.

There are also no possession limits specified by Prop. 215, and home cultivation of the medicine is permitted. However, patients could find themselves in hot water if they grew amounts of marijuana that were obviously excessive to their needs; to clear up this situation, the government added an amendment to the original bill in 2016, which declared that a patient may cultivate up to 100 square feet of marijuana, while primary caregivers with five or fewer patients can cultivate up to 500 square feet.

Most importantly, patients in California are not required to get a state ID card or a MMJ card. They’re both optional, but residents of the state can avail of medical marijuana freely without either of them.

Medical Cannabis Laws in New York

All that freedom stands in stark contrast to New York’s take on the matter of MMJ. Californian patients would think that NY’s legislation was extremely conservative; and they’d be right. The usually-liberal leaning New York shocked MMJ advocates up and down the country in 2014, when it introduced one of the most restrictive medical marijuana bills in the U.S. Initially, it was seen as an extremely conservative step, but a necessary one, given that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been vocally anti-marijuana (in any form) in the past. Looking at the legislature, it reads almost opposite to California’s bill of eighteen years previous, although of course, they are broadly the same piece of law.

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New York’s medical marijuana legislation is pretty much the exact opposite of California’s 1996 MMJ bill.

Initially, New York had a small list of severe diseases under its qualifying conditions. These included cancer, AIDS, ALS, MS and Parkinson’s, although crucially did not include the all important ‘chronic pain’ clause that California’s law has. Since last year, after pressure from MMJ advocates, this has since been rectified, and ‘chronic pain’ is now a fully fledged, MMJ-legal condition in New York.

A second part of the bill that shocked Californians, and has yet to be rectified, is the prohibition on smoking the medicine. Smoking has long been known as the most potent and effect method to consume marijuana; when it comes to medical cases, it’s important that patients give the medicine the best chance it can to work. Unfortunately, under Governor Cuomo, smoking MMJ was considered too much of a risk, and not included in the bill.

Other restricting factors include absolutely no cultivation permitted, and a limit on how many dispensaries can operate in the state at a time (only twenty). This again is in stark contrast to the West Coast, where patients could be sure of picking up their medicine locally and easily.

Looking to New York, patients in California would be shocked to learn that there is only one dispensary for every 27,000 square kilometers of the state. This makes access hard, and also crucially makes it more troublesome for critically ill patients to get the treatment they need.

Although things are changing in New York, they’re still a long way off the liberal leanings of California’s law. Observing the happenings on the East Coast, MMJ patients in Cali are no doubt thanking their lucky stars that they live where they do; conversely, NY patients have got a fight on their hands to bring their legislature up to California’s gold standard.

Why You’ll Still Need an MMJ Card After Weed is Legalized

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, when the medical cannabis program was first approved. It was the number one state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. Since then, many people with a debilitating illness have applied for and have been successful in receiving a California MMJ card. Once in possession of this cannabis card, owners can buy medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries, order it online from specialized and protected sites, and even grow their own plants. This has made life a little more palatable for those suffering from such conditions as arthritis, MS, AIDS and cancer – to name but a few of the 50 qualifying conditions.

Twenty years later in November 2016, the people of California passed Proposition 64, which legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes for adults over the age of 21 in the state. So, you might think that your 420 card is now redundant right? Well, you’re actually wrong. There are many reasons why you will need to retain and renew your MMJ card, once the law becomes effective in 2018.

MMJ Card Legalization Process

For the remainder of 2017, you will most definitely need to hang on to that California medical card. The Proposition will not come into effect until January 2018 at the earliest. The process of implementing this new law is pretty elaborate, so it’s safe to say that it won’t all happen overnight as we’re all celebrating the countdown to the New Year – there’s a lot of bureaucracy to get through first. Dispensaries will be allowed to start serving recreational users starting in January, but you can bet they won’t all be ready to do that – and some may delay or choose not to do so.

Even once we’ve reached 2018, when the state is required to give recreational weed shops their license, different localities within the state can set their own rules, so it’s not necessarily going to be a clear-cut done deal.

Recreational Use of Medical Marijuana in Public

One of the most important reasons why you will still need your MMJ card is that recreational use of MMJ will not be allowed in public places, even once the Proposition becomes law. However, if you have a California marijuana license, you will still generally be allowed to smoke medical cannabis where tobacco smoking is allowed. Remember to carry that card with you at all times!

MMJ Card Medical Needs

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If you’re a long-term medical weed card user, you will still have the respect of the medical professionals once it is legalized.

Some long-term MMJ card users are naturally worried that, with the legalization of cannabis, their medical needs may be belittled or forgotten about. They feel that the drug won’t be respected in terms of their requirements and how it benefits their lives. While it’s true to say that this may happen in a few cases, cannabis card holders should be assured that they will still be able to speak in confidence with doctors regarding their medical marijuana dosage, and use and that they will still have the respect of the medical professionals.

Growing Medical Cannabis at Home

Another obvious benefit of hanging on to your card once cannabis is legalized in California is that the new law will allow people to grow up to six plants only in their own home. As a cannabis card holder, you will still be allowed to harvest up to 100 square feet of marijuana plants on your own land.

The Price of Medical Weed

The final bit of good news and another reason why you will still need your card is that however the new proposition affects the price of marijuana, with a California medical marijuana card, you won’t have to pay more as you are exempt from paying sales taxes. Good news, huh?

Steps to Get an MMJ Card

Hopefully we’ve shown you some good reasons why you’ll still need your MMJ card after cannabis is legalized. If you don’t yet have a card, here’s how to apply for one:

If you think you may qualify for MMJ, then the easiest way to get a card is to buy your medical marijuana card online, via MMJ Recs. You just need to complete a standard medical form online and upload any relevant medical documents onto the site. One of our medical marijuana specialists will then evaluate you over the phone or via Skype. This takes just a few minutes; the physician will need information about your qualifying condition and your medical history, and will ask you why you believe taking medical marijuana may benefit you.

You can ask the specialist doctor any questions you like, and he or she will be available to advise you on the best strain and optimum amount for you disability. All benefits and any associated risks will be outlined to you. Once approved, your medical marijuana card will be sent to you in the mail. Be assured that MMJ Recs will treat any information you give us with the utmost privacy.

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At MMJ Recs, we will offer the best service and respect to anyone applying for an MMJ card.

If you are already in possession of a cannabis card, it’s important to remember that you need to reapply for your card every year.

So, our advice is don’t let the new law stop you from applying for a MMJ card or renewing it if you’re already in possession of one. The benefits of owning a card will remain, even once all the red tape has been gotten through, all the issues and concerns have been ironed out and the law is fully operational.

How and Why the State of New York Legalized Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been legal in the U.S. since 1996 — if you live in California that is. For other states, it’s been an uphill battle to legalize medical cannabis, and for some, the battle rages on. As of May 2017, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, and several others allow the use of marijuana in its oil form, with limitations on THC content (i.e., the psychoactive component of the drug).

Even where medical cannabis is legalized, the medical marijuana laws regarding its use vary wildly from state to state. The legalization of marijuana for recreational use is also shifting rapidly across the U.S., muddying the waters on medical marijuana laws and marijuana usage as a whole.

Although California is leading the charge on both fronts, especially when it comes to medical marijuana, over on the East Coast, the traditionally liberal and progressive New York has put in place a surprisingly restrictive and limited medical cannabis program. The state became the 23rd in the U.S. to embrace medical marijuana when it was made legal in mid-2014 under an act known as the Compassionate Care Act, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At the beginning of his tenure, Cuomo announced plans to introduce medical marijuana legally to the state but was also noted and criticized for his long-held anti-marijuana position. Although Cuomo stated he was receptive to change on the medical marijuana front and approached the subject with an open mind, many feared that his medical marijuana laws would be too strict.

Medical Marijuana Laws in New York

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The state became the 23rd in the U.S. to embrace medical marijuana when it was made legal in mid-2014 under an act known as the Compassionate Care Act, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

These fears turned out to be well-founded upon the introduction of the CCA, which contained a critical clause that allows the New York Department of health to pull the plug on the medical marijuana program any time it chooses.

The list of qualifying conditions is also fairly short compared to other states, with only severe illnesses entitling patients to medical cannabis. On top of this, doctors can be punished under federal law for suppling marijuana to a patient who doesn’t fit the required conditions.

The narrow qualifying conditions include cancer, ALS and other motor neuron diseases, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. This means that only around 10 percent of patients who could benefit from marijuana can actually legally avail of it, which is seen by many as far too restrictive.

The number of dispensaries allowed statewide is also pretty narrow, with only up to 20 dispensaries being grated licenses and only five manufacturers being granted the permission to grow marijuana. For as state composed of just under 20 million people, this seems relatively minuscule to medical marijuana advocates.

No Smoking Medical Cannabis in New York

Another measure that is seen as overly harsh, particularly when compared to other states, is the decision to forbid the smoking of medical marijuana, the most traditional method of taking the medicine. This is regarded as another attempt to appear anti-marijuana by the overly conservative Cuomo.

But it considerably limits patients’ methods and ease with which to avail of their medicine. As it stands, patients are only allowed to consume medical marijuana through vaporization, oils, foods and pills, which is, unfortunately, not the cheapest ways to consume the drug — or the most effective.

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In New York, you can’t legally smoke medical marijuana.

Smoking marijuana has traditionally been held as the quickest way to avail of the drug’s effects. When it comes to chronic and severe pain relief, most patients will want their medicine to work as quick as possible, forcing them to illegally smoke it or purchase a vaporizer, costing them hundreds of dollars on top of the amount they’ve already paid for the medicine. Cuomo and his supporters argued that smoking is not in the interest of public health, but this particular decree is seen by many as yet another attempt by Cuomo to straddle the line.

Just before the bill’s introduction in 2014, the governor spoke about the upcoming legislation.

“We’re going to be sending up a bill shortly that we believes strikes the right balance,” he said.

It was the result of near-constant pressure from medical marijuana advocates, lead by Sen. Diane Savino, the Senate sponsor of the bill, and Assembly sponsor Richard Gottfried. Assemblyman Gottfried admitted the bill was a compromise and also expressed concerns about the projected 18-month implication, concerns which turned out to be largely unfounded as the program got up and running on schedule.

It was a thorny path to medical marijuana legalization in New York, but now that it’s here, hopefully, things can continue to improve. There are certainly signs of it, with advocates campaigning for new conditions to be added to the list of qualifiers. Just recently post-traumatic stress disorder was accepted on the list, expanding some horizons in that sense. At the end of last year, the state Department of Health announced that it will be lifting and revising growth limits due to increased pressure from advocates and patients alike. All in all, things look good for the future of medical marijuana in New York.

The Legality of Medical Marijuana in New York Explained

The legality of medical marijuana in the states has come a long way and has overcome many obstacles since 1906 when heavy restrictions were placed on marijuana. At one point, it was even classified as a poison. Today, however, marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 29 states, including New York. Since 2014, thanks to the Compassionate Care Act, patients are now allowed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes to treat illnesses such as cancer, HIV and AIDs. There has been evidence that medical marijuana can help with problems from glaucoma to epileptic seizures. People have also reported that medical cannabis has helped with inflammation and pain and with coping with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Medical Marijuana Laws in New York

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New York holds much stricter medical marijuana laws, especially with regards to the qualifying diseases and the form of medicine allowed.

In comparison to other states such as California, however, New York holds much stricter medical marijuana laws, especially with regards to the qualifying diseases and the form of medicine allowed.

First, only a handful of illnesses is considered qualifying conditions if you want to try medical cannabis. Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, AIDs and multiple sclerosis are just a few of the ailments. However, recent medical marijuana laws have loosened to allow chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder to be classified as a qualifying illness that could allow for the treatment using medical marijuana. This means that if you have severe pain for three months or more that has not responded well to other treatment, then you can apply for a certification from a medical practitioner.

How to Apply for Medical Cannabis in New York

There are a few stages when it comes to applying for medical marijuana. It is not simply a case of going to your doctor and asking for a prescription, which is actually illegal. The first step is to see if your condition comes under the list of qualifying ailments.

The next step is to ensure that your medical practitioner is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. Only then can they give you a certification for medical cannabis.

Once you have received your certification, you need to register for the Medical Marijuana Program through the department’s online patient registration system.

The last step is waiting to receive a registry identification card, which you will have to show when you go to the dispensary facility.

Where to Buy Medical Marijuana in New York

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There are currently less than 1,000 qualified doctors in the city who can prescribe medical marijuana.

Out of around 2,000 dispensaries in the United States, there are only a few dispensaries available in New York. Moreover, there are currently less than 1,000 qualified doctors in the city who can prescribe medical marijuana.

Why is this number so low? It is likely to do with the fact that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug and is considered illegal by the federal government. A possible reason for the strict medical marijuana laws could be that lawmakers are highly suspicious of marijuana being used for recreational purposes. Despite the positive stories people have reported from using medical cannabis to treat their illnesses, the state still believes that this alternative medicine can pose risks.

The Prospect of Recreational Marijuana Use in New York

On the other hand, exciting news has emerged recently hinting that marijuana could also possibly be legalized for recreational use in the Big Apple. If this goes ahead, then, naturally, the expansion of medical marijuana will likely increase, which would hopefully allow more people to have easier access to this natural alternative.

How You Can Consume Medical Marijuana in New York

In terms of the form of medical marijuana allowed in New York, only tinctures and oils are legal, and these can be inhaled, vaporized or taken orally in capsules. Smoking is strictly prohibited.

Furthermore, the amount that you have in possession also has a limit. There is a 30-day supply max at any one time. There are different classes of felonies for just being in possession of cannabis; therefore, it is important to ensure that you always have your registry identification card with you.

On top of these restrictions, the cost is also a big factor that explains why a limited number of people have access to medical marijuana. In comparison to other states such as California and Colorado where cannabis will cost you roughly $15 to $25 a day, in New York, you would have to pay around $180. This is a major problem for people who may qualify for medical marijuana but cannot afford it.

In conclusion, New York possesses much tighter medical marijuana laws with regards to the qualification, form and process of obtaining medical cannabis, especially compared to other states such as California. The number of doctors willing to prescribe medical cannabis and the cost appears to be limiting the number of potential patients.

Things are gradually becoming more lenient though for instance in terms of the types of ailments accepted, and there is hope that the legalization will be less restrictive. But overall, it seems that New York still has some catching up to do compared to other states when it comes to making medical marijuana more easily accessible and affordable for people.

An Empire State of Mind: Medical Marijuana in New York

Medical marijuana is gaining more popularity as an alternative to conventional medicine and a more natural option to treat various diseases and illnesses. Although there is still a lot more research to be conducted, many miraculous stories have surfaced, and this alternative medicine seems promising.

It may also come as a surprise to know that using cannabis as medicine is not new. In 2737 B.C. China, Emperor Shen Neng prescribed marijuana to treat various illnesses malaria, gout and memory problems.

Today, medical cannabis is legal in 29 U.S. states, including New York. Each state has varying laws regarding the form and amount of medical marijuana allowed. Furthermore, only certain health conditions may qualify for a medical cannabis prescription. There are different ways to take medical cannabis, such as tinctures, smoking or edibles; however, the only legal way to consume medical marijuana in New York is orally.

Health Conditions that Qualify for Medical Marijuana in New York

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You will need to discuss with your doctor whether medical marijuana would be appropriate for you.

If you are living in New York and are interested in trying medical cannabis, the first thing you would need to consider is whether your health condition qualifies. The health issues that qualify by law include cancer, HIV or AIDs, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis. You will need to discuss with your doctor whether medical marijuana would be appropriate for you. Furthermore, your doctor will need to be registered with the New York Department of Health for them to issue you with a certification for the medicine.

Requirements for Physicians to be in the Medical Cannabis Program

If your doctor is not registered in the medical marijuana program, they must meet a list of criteria to be accepted. First, they must complete a four-hour course approved by the commissioner, and they must be qualified to treat patients with serious conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disease. Moreover, they must be licensed, in good standing as a physician, practicing medicine and registered with the New York Department of Health.

Registering for the Medical Marijuana in New York

Once you have received your certification from your medical practitioner, you can then register for the medical cannabis program through the Department of Health’s online patient registration. There is a fee of $50 to apply. Proof of identity as well as residence must be provided, and the Department of Health will then send a registry identification card. Patients then simply must take their certification and identification card to a dispensing facility to obtain the medical marijuana they need.

Buying Medical Marijuana in New York

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The price of medical marijuana in New York can vary; however, the Department of Health works with consultants to make sure that pricing is comparable between all dispensaries.

In New York, there are 20 dispensaries; almost 900 medical practitioners who are registered to prescribe medical cannabis; and 14,400 patients who are certified to buy the medicine. The possession limit in New York is limited to a 30-day supply, and you can purchase tinctures, vaporizers and medical cannabis concentrates.

The price of medical marijuana in New York can vary; however, the Department of Health works with consultants to make sure that pricing is comparable between all dispensaries. To get an idea, medical marijuana in New York will cost you roughly $30 per gram, but depending on how much you require, this means that it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month.

Fortunately, one of New York’s medical cannabis producers, Etain Health, has recently created a discount program for customers. The idea is to make medical marijuana more affordable, and they do this by ensuring that for every $100 spent, there is a $5 discount until $400 is spent. Then the discount increases to $10 per $100 spent. If you end up spending $1,000 or more, then you will receive a $15 discount for every $100 spent.

How Medical Marijuana in New York Compares

Overall, New York seems to have a stricter program compared to the other legal states when it comes to being qualified for medical marijuana. Only several serious illnesses and diseases are considered for this form of medication. Chronic pain that causes health and function degradation has also been accepted as an ailment that will qualify for medical cannabis. Moreover, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be allowed to certify people for the medicine, and the state is even considering home deliveries.

A leading telemedicine portal called NuggMD is hoping to make access to medical cannabis in New York more reasonable by facilitating the link between patients and licensed medical practitioners. This is hopeful as more and more states are starting to get on board with legalizing marijuana for medicine and patients are continuously seeing benefits from it.

As medical marijuana laws in New York start loosening the restrictions and regulations, an increase in patients is expected. Hopefully, more will be able to benefit from this alternative form of medication.

The Most Medical Marijuana-friendly Countries in the World

In California, medical marijuana card holders are blessed when it comes to how the state views MMJ. Not only does the Golden State have some of the laxest medical marijuana laws in the country, but it is also only mere months away from legalizing the plant for MMJ card holders and recreational users alike.

Although Californians have a tendency to see their state as the center of the universe, it is not the only place that has such open-minded medical marijuana laws. Countries all around the world have similar laws whereby MMJ card holders gets to enjoy the same type of freedom you get here at home. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of the most medical marijuana-friendly countries in the world

The Netherlands

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Amsterdam has long been lauded for its relaxed attitude toward medical marijuana.

Where else could you start except for in the weed capital of the world? This northern European country has long been lauded for its relaxed attitude toward marijuana in general and medical marijuana in particular. It should come as no surprise that the Netherlands’ medical marijuana program is probably the best in the world with huge amounts of government money going toward research to better it even further. MMJ users in the Netherlands have two options when it comes to obtaining the plant: informally from a recreational dispensary or formally through a pharmacy. Accessing marijuana in the Netherlands is as easy as you’re going to find anywhere else in the world with about 700 weed dispensing “coffee shops” spanning the country.

Jamaica

Jamaica is seen by some as the beating heart of the global marijuana community; however,  for a country with such a prolific and well-documented history of promoting the plant’s recreational use, Jamaica only actually decriminalized the possession of marijuana in 2015. Nowadays, with the bureaucratic nightmare of decriminalization behind them, Jamaica is every ounce the MMJ mecca that it has always been believed to be. It even has a cannabis licensing authority that is in charge of the cultivation and distribution of the plant for medical and scientific purposes. Although MMJ is not easily accessible to everyone in Jamaica, if you have your California medical marijuana card on you when you’re traveling to the country, you can get a permit in the airport for a few dollars that will allow you to consume MMJ wherever you want.

Uruguay

Uruguay hit the headlines in 2013 for becoming the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana, which destroyed the country’s powerful drugs cartels. In Uruguay, you’re welcome to grow up to six plants of your own at home or acquire some from the state-controlled marijuana dispensary program — and you don’t need a medical marijuana card to do so. Although this program has had some teething problems, nowadays, the price for MMJ is so low that everyone can afford it, which means that those in vital need of its healing powers can access it easily. Uruguay has been somewhat of a trailblazer on the South American weed scene. Since the legalization of the plant in 2013, Chile and Colombia have followed suit, and more are set to follow.

Canada

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Canada has had a medical marijuana program since 2001.

Our northerly neighbors may not have total legalization yet — they’re working on it! — but they do have a pretty great medical marijuana program that has been in place since 2001. In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in Canada, you must have a diagnosis and a recommendation for MMJ use from a licensed physician. Then you can acquire the plant from any of the 29 licensed producers who are accessible from every corner of the country. According to recent data, about 29,000 Canadians are now benefiting from the wonder plant.

Israel

Believe it or not, Israel is also a trailblazer when it comes to medical marijuana research. It was an Israeli scientist who was one of the first researchers to identify cannabidol (CBD) and who later determined the structure of tetrahyrdocannabidiol (THC). Ever since the 1960s, the small Middle Eastern country has been refining the study of the plant, and in 1992, it approved marijuana for medical use. Today, around 25,000 Israeli patients use the plant to treat a whole host of ailments.

Denmark

Although MMJ is not widely accepted through the entire Scandinavian country — you could see yourself slapped with a fine for openly consuming outside of the Christiania district of Copenhagen — the Danish attitudes to cannabis are pretty lax. Medical marijuana has been legal in Denmark since 2011, and all you need is a prescription to legally acquire and consume it. Although only three types of cannabis are legal for medical use — sativex, marinol and nabilone — a whopping 88 percent of Danish people are in favor of the total legalization of all types of medical marijuana.

As attitudes start to become more liberal and more parts of the world start to open their eyes to the wonders of medical marijuana, you’ll begin to see more countries become havens for both MMJ card holders and recreational users. Unfortunately, some areas have quite a long way to go when it comes to marijuana acceptance, but overall, the world seems to be moving in a more weed-friendly direction than ever before.

What the New Bills in the House and Senate Mean for Medical Marijuana in Florida

In November 2016, Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which took effect in January 2017. The controversial amendment formed part of the Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative and was designed to extend the rights of patients, allowing for more potent strains of medical marijuana in Florida to become available and to be used in the treatment of a wider variety of medical conditions.

However, since this amendment has passed, and with just one month to go in the session, Florida lawmakers remain at odds as to how to carry out and put into practice the new amendment. Senate and House members disagree on the finer details of how to expand access to the drug, from licensing additional distributors to cover the increase in demand to requiring patients to be seen by the same doctor for at least three months prior to receiving their prescription.

What Does Amendment 2 Mean for Medical Marijuana In Florida?

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Amendment 2 means higher-strength strains of medical marijuana will be allowed in Florida.

Under Amendment 2, medical marijuana use will expand beyond the limited prescription of low-strength strains allowed under the 2014 law. The new legislation also expands the list of ailments that qualify for a medical marijuana prescription from cancer, epilepsy and chronic muscle spasms to include post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and potentially other chronic conditions.

It is still yet to be determined whether the new amendment will expand the rights of patients to choose how they would like to ingest their medication. Currently, patients are only allowed topical lotions with vaping being permitted only in the cases of terminally ill patients. This means that smoking, consuming edibles (brownies, gummies, lollipops etc.) and taking tinctures are still illegal with or without a legal prescription.

What Bills Concerning Medical Marijuana in Florida Are Being Debated?

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Follow SB 406 and HB 1397 to keep tabs on medical marijuana in Florida.

There are two major bills at play: Senate Bill 406, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, is viewed as more permissive and has drawn support from advocates in the medical marijuana community. House Bill 1397, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, has been criticized for being overly restrictive and is heavily backed by the Drug Free America Foundation.

What Do These Bills Aim To Achieve?

SB 406 would eliminate the current requirement that states that patients are required to be under a specific doctor’s care for at least three months prior to receiving a prescription for medical marijuana in Florida. HB 1397 would keep such restrictions in place, something that the medical marijuana community claims will outprice many of the patients who could benefit from the prescription.

Doctors are already experiencing a significant influx of new patients eager to qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions. As of now, there are currently seven dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana in Florida. SB 406 would immediately expand the number of licenses issued to medical marijuana distributors in the state to allow for the rapid increase in demand. HB 1397 would first require that more 250,000 patients sign up for medical marijuana in Florida before expanding the pool by an additional five businesses. This pool would continue to increase when sign-ups reach 350,000; 400,000; and every 100,000 patients thereafter.

SB 406 would also establish a coalition for medical marijuana research through Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute and would require that an independent laboratory test all medical marijuana for quality and potency before it is made available to patients. Given the federal government’s previous troubles in producing medical-grade marijuana for patients, these last amendments have received a warm welcome by the medical marijuana community.

What Will Happen If Lawmakers Can’t Agree?

Amendment 2 states that the new legislation for medical marijuana in Florida must be adopted by the state by June 3, 2017, at the latest. If the Senate and House can’t agree on a workable bill by the end of the session May 5, then the health department will be required to issue the regulation on its own. This would make the new legislation much more vulnerable in terms of various legal challenges and would ostensibly leave the issue in the hands of the courts.

Stay tuned for further news on medical marijuana in Florida and what the new legislation will mean for patients’ right to access, conditions that will qualify for use of medical marijuana, different ways to dose with MMJ legally, and the different strains that will become available and how best to use them. In the meantime, if you’re curious about medical marijuana, its benefits and the rights of patients in other areas of the country, then check out the other articles on our extensive blog.

 

Proposition 64: Is Everybody Happy About Legalizing Marijuana?

In the past century, marijuana has gone from a legal and ubiquitous crop to an illegal substance to a decriminalized one. From there, it has once again become legal, first for medical use and now for recreational use in California through Proposition 64. So with things changing so quickly, is everyone happy?

The short answer is no. Rapid change often brings about resistance. Only time can tell whether this resistance is a knee-jerk response to change or something triggered by fundamental beliefs. In this article, we will be figuring out whether everyone is happy about legalizing marijuana.

If you haven’t already, be sure to buy your medical marijuana card online. Let’s get into it!

On Nov. 9, 2016, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 64, became law with an approval rate of 57 percent. This initiative was set in place to legalize the adult use of cannabis in California. For many people who had been fighting the war on drugs, the 9th of November was marked as a monumental victory. 

But what about the 43 percent who voted against legalizing marijuana? Are they happy? Do they want to prohibit the use of cannabis across the board? Well, the surface level answer to the first question is no and to the second question is yes, but let’s dig a little deeper and see if we can discover if that really is the case, and if so, why.

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Will Proposition 64 continue the war on drugs, or will it end it?

Cannabis was first labeled as a poison in 1906, and following many subsequent restrictions, it became prohibited across America by the mid-1930s. To say that state law has some impact on its people’s opinions and ideals is a huge understatement. Although many people continued to grow and use marijuana after it was made illegal, it became progressively more denigrated, and its users were looked at with disdain. Gangs ceased the opportunity to make money off of what the government refused to, so the buying and selling of marijuana were further sullied. 

Of those between 18 and 34 years old, 71 percent are in favor of legal marijuana. Compare this with the 35 percent of senior citizens age 65 and older in favor of legalization. Those over 65 would have been born in 1951 or earlier, so for their entire lives, marijuana would have been illegal and controlled by gangs. Gangs bring about violence and poor-quality drugs. This certainly would have negatively impacted cannabis’s public standing.

Also, there were far fewer studies showing the medical efficacy of the drug in the early and mid-20th century and far more media outlets reporting on its supposed dangers. All of this would have has quite the formative effect on people’s opinions. This group accounts for the vast majority of people who voted no on Proposition 64.

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Older voters weren’t in favor of Proposition 64.

Certainly, some of those who voted no see the many benefits of marijuana — both medicinally and fiscally — but they fear that legalization may be one step too far. They may be happy with the decriminalization and medical use of marijuana, but they also believe having no control over who buys or sells marijuana has its drawbacks. Whether they remain discontent about the result will depend on the outcome of the legislation.

When they see a reduction in opioid abuse and overdose and see that the percentage of the population who uses cannabis remains steady regardless of how the law views the drug — both have been shown consistently in other states that legalize marijuana for recreational use — they are likely to be convinced.

If they see the government able to help those who require rehabilitation after addiction to cannabis and if they can keep mental illness levels at least on par with what they have been in previous years, then we cannot see why anyone wouldn’t be supportive. The data is fairly conclusive in stating that the legalization of marijuana does not increase usage and allows those who need help to receive it without judgment. It also proves incredibly profitable for the government, which in turn allows for more funding for education, emergency services, health care and transportation.

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Like weed, alcohol was once illegal in the U.S.

At this point, you should have a fair idea about how Californian’s feel about legalizing marijuana. It has been almost a century since the criminalization of marijuana, so Proposition 64 is an important point in history regardless of where any one person stands. If you think back to the Prohibition era, you’ll remember that even alcohol was at one point illegal in America. Now, it is as ubiquitous as soda and has garnered the acceptance of the general public to the point where you are judged more for not drinking than you are for drinking! We believe this is where things are headed for marijuana. Change is slow, but things are moving in the right direction. Marijuana won’t be legalized in California until 2018, so if you want marijuana beforehand, you’ll need a medical marijuana card. So get your medical marijuana card online today!